This 15-credit program Alliance program offers students 9 class hours per week of Chinese language as well as the opportunity to explore the historical confluences of geography, ethnicity, and religion in a city that is culturally distinct from the coastal megacities. Combining structured coursework, directed research, and an exhilarating two-week field study trip along the Silk Road, the Alliance’s Xi’an program takes students off the beaten path and introduces them to China’s essence – old and new.
Beginning in Spring 2014, Students must enroll in:
In addition, students choose from one of the options below:
XSNU ANTH350 The Silk Road Yesterday and Today (required, 3 class hours/week, 3 credits)
The "Silk Road" is synonymous with over a millennium and a half of cultural, religious, and economic exchange linking East and Central Asia with the Mediterranean. It was not only a route for the trade of luxury goods but also the source of a rich interchange of art, religion, ideas, and people. This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to the multi-dimensional history of the Silk Road by focusing on the geography of trade routes, the spread of Buddhist religious and artistic influences, and the influence of Mediterranean explorers like Marco Polo. Students have the opportunity to explore first-hand the historical and contemporary legacy of the Silk Road through various fieldtrips in and around Xi'an and during the two-week Silk Road field study trip.
All elective courses are taught in English and meet for three class hours per week. Class lectures, readings, and discussions are complimented with relevant fieldwork and site visits. Students must enroll in two from the following list.
Those elective courses listed in italics will be offered for Alliance students beginning in the Spring 2014 semester.
XSNU RELG340 Religion and Community in China (3 class hours/week, 3 credits)
Xi’an is home to several major Buddhist temples and monasteries as well as to one of China’s oldest and most important mosques, sustaining a thriving Muslim community since the days when Islam was first becoming known in China. According to legend, the sage Laozi wrote much of the Tao Te Ching nearby. Xi'an has a substantial Christian population and, at times, has also been home to communities of Jews, Zoroastrians, and Manicheans. Focusing on the relationships among religious groups, between religious institutions and the imperial state, and the present state of religious practice in Xi’an, students in this course examine the ways in which these communities have borrowed from and influenced one another.
XSNU ANTH370 Ethnicity and Identity in Northwestern China (3 class hours/week, 3 credits)
As the imperial capital for many centuries, Xi’an has long been an important crossroads for people from throughout China, Central Asia, and the Middle East. The city’s prominent Hui community trace their ancestry back to Silk Road traders from Persia and Arabia. To the west, along the Silk Road, are vibrant longstanding communities who now describe themselves as Uyghurs, Tibetans, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Dongxiang, Mongolian, Tajik, and more. By examining different theories and methods used in defining and determining individual ethnicity and ethnic groups - and the idea of what it means to be “Chinese” - students gain a more nuanced understanding of the communities that surround them.
XSNU RELG330 Islamic Studies (3 class hours/week, 3 credits)
Starting with an introduction to Islam, this course explores the diversity of practices among Sunni and Shia Muslims in different regions of the world, as well as Sufi interpretations and practices. The focus then shifts to the examination of the history of Islam in China, contemporary Chinese Muslim communities, how Islam is practiced and perceived in China today, and the relationship between Islam and the Chinese state throughout history and today. This course also explores the ways in which Islamic practices and traditions have been influenced by other religions and cultural traditions in China, and the influence of prominent Chinese Muslims on Chinese history and culture in general.
XSNU LITR260 Classical to Contemporary Chinese Literature (3 class hours/week, 3 credits)
This course explores the finest literary works of Chinese history but also includes fascinating fictional writings in Chinese American literature, providing a view of China through the lens of Western literature. From the writings of Confucius and Laozi to the tales of Pu Songling, Cao Xueqin, Lu Xun, and Zhang Ailing, students roam from the realms of the metaphysical to the romantic and the fantastic, the cynical and the realistic. Discussions shed light upon important issues in the previous dynasties as well as those in modern and contemporary Chinese society.
XSNU HIST375 Center of the World: Thirteen Dynasties of Xi'an as Imperial Capital (3 class hours/week, 3 credits)
This course introduces students to the early history of Chinese civilization and specifically Shaanxi Province, from the Neolithic Period up to the Golden Age of the Tang Dynasty. Through class discussions and visits to local historic and prehistoric sites, students look at how civilization developed across China and at the interactions between Shaanxi and other parts of East Asia. Additionally, students examine how we know what we know by looking at archaeological and historical research methods both in China and the West. By taking an interdisciplinary approach, which includes aspects of archaeology, history, and art history, students gain a thorough appreciation and understanding of early Chinese history.
XSNU ARTH360 Xi'an and Chinese Art History (3 class hours/week, 3 credits)
This course explores China’s rich and diverse artistic heritage with a particular focus on art history and trends in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, and along the Silk Road. From the Neolithic Banpo Village and the internationally famed Terracotta Warriors of the Qin dynasty to communist propaganda art and the explosive contemporary arts scene, students learn about Chinese art in person. In addition to these important artistic legacies, students learn about the history of the region's calligraphy, folk arts, bronzes, and Buddhist art. Outside the classroom, students will visit the Shaanxi History Museum, the folk art village of Hu Xian, and the calligraphy and painting galleries at Shuyuanmen and Huayuanmen.
Chinese Language (required, 9 class hours/week, 6 credits)
No prior language study is required for admission. Upon taking a placement exam after arrival, students will be placed into the appropriate language level. Courses emphasize listening, reading, speaking, and writing. Alliance programs teach Simplified Chinese Characters, which are standardized Chinese characters officially used in mainland China. Click here to view a full listing of textbooks and lessons by Alliance program and course.
The syllabi below reflect the 9 credit hour course being offered to Alliance students through Fall 2013. More information coming soon on our new 6 credit hour course syllabi.
XNSU CHIN321 Specialized Chinese Language (3 class hours/week, 3 credits)
This course will be offered beginning in the Spring 2014 semester. This course focuses on developing Chinese language skills through systematic study to meet each individual student’s academic requirements. Students may delve more deeply into Chinese phonetics, grammar, vocabulary, or syntax through a variety of Chinese language sources such as classical texts and poety or newspapers and popular media.